happiness is a good MRI

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, the kind of MS I have, is supposed to get steadily worse over time. While it’s true that my symptoms have never gone into remission – the stuff that’s been wrong with me for the last six years is still wrong with me – I have been incredibly lucky to have a slow-moving course of this scary disease. (May this good fortune continue!)

I recently had new MRIs of my brain and spinal cord done, and I got some fantastic news. But first, here’s a quick overview of the central nervous system to give you some idea of what I’m talking about.

Starting at the top, you have your brain, of course. Going down from there, your spinal cord runs through your cervical spine (C=neck), your thoracic spine (T=chest), lumbar spine (L=lower back) and sacral spine (S=tailbone area). The vertebrae are  numbered in each section: C-1 through C-8, T-1 through T-12, L-1 through L-5, and S-1 through S-5.  I first developed lesions (scars from nerve damage) at T-10 and T-11; three years later, they found lesions at C-6 and in my brain.

This last set of MRIs (with and without dye/contrast) actually showed that the lesion at C-6 is getting smaller! Dr. Zarelli believes it is because of the three years of mega-doses of prednisone, which would be awesome, because I didn’t like that treatment one bit, so it would be nice to feel it actually did something. Better still, I now have an answer to “So, how’s that drug treatment going? Is it working?” Three years of saying, “I have no idea” got a little old.

So, hooray! I haven’t seen any corresponding decrease in symptoms yet, but it’s hard to know what symptoms are tied to what lesions, anyway. I still have good days and bad days depending on my overall health – any sickness or infection can cause symptoms to flare up as your immune system kicks into high gear – but just to know that the disease progression may be slowing down is such a blessing!

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